The first thing that you need to know about pressure washing or soft washing your roof: it’s more dangerous than it looks. If you want to try cleaning your roof as a DIY project, there are some things that you should know. Here is a quick guide from the professionals to pressure washing the roof of your house.
Tips for Pressure Washing a Roof
Your shingles may look like they’ll provide enough traction to safely mount your roof, but wet algae can be as slick as oil. So, the first rule – don’t climb your roof shortly after the last rain. Wait for the surface to dry, don’t set foot on the wet spots while you’re cleaning, and make sure someone is around to help if you do slip.
With all of that considered, let’s get down to the nuts and bolts of the job.
Start on the Far End from the Ladder
You don’t want to spray yourself into a corner, so once you step off the ladder, walk to the other corner of the roof and work your back towards the ladder. This way, you won’t risk stepping on any wet shingles.
Inspect the Roof
Look for any problem spots, areas that will need an extra thorough cleaning, loose shingles and spots that need to be repaired. Do this step before you start cleaning. You want to know what you’re up against and avoid any unpleasant surprises that will slow the job down.
Begin with Detergent
Start with a biodegradable detergent to loosen up the algae and moss that may have grown on your shingles and kill any possible mold. The best way to apply the detergent is with a foamer or a soap shooter. The goal is to loosen the algae so that it’s easier to clean and doesn’t cling to the shingles and remove particles when sprayed off. Allow the detergent to sit for a while on the areas most affected by algae and grime. The key here is to use a lot of cleaner. The more cleaner you use, the less rinsing/washing you will have to do.
Use a Lower Setting
Your shingles are a little more delicate than they look. At the highest settings, some pressure washers can punch a hole in the drywall. The best way to find the right setting is to set it at LOWER power, then adjust it up and down until you find the right flow.
Spray Down, Not Up
When you see how far a pressure washer can spray, you might wonder why you don’t just blast your roof from the ground and skip the ladder entirely. You always want to spray down, not up. This ensures that water doesn’t get trapped under the shingles and cause mold damage.
Move the Sprayer, Not the Power Setting
When a little more pressure is needed, apply more concentrated cleaner rather than adjusting the pressure setting. Soft washing is the best way to get your roof clean without doing more damage than it prevents.
Check for Damages
When standing straight up, you might not be able to see the damages at eye level. After spraying some shingles, squat down (carefully) to get a look and make sure that you don’t have the pressure up too high. You want to keep checking as you go, and generally only clean a few shingles at a time.
More Considerations to Keep in Mind
- You only need to treat your roof to a power washing once every year or two. More than that and you may wind up subjecting it to more wear and tear than it’s built to withstand in a short amount of time.
- That said, the inverse is true, as well. The roof of your home does need to be cleaned every now and then. Algae can ruin the appearance of your roof and mold can cause long-term damage, creating leaks. Your insurer probably requires you to keep your roof clean in order for your policy to remain valid.
- If you don’t have power washing training yourself, it’s a good idea to consider professional help on this one. The job is both delicate and dangerous, which is always a tricky combination if you’re not completely comfortable with the task at hand.
- Pressure washing and soft washing aren’t exactly the same thing. Pressure washing allows the water to come out at full force and is preferred for cleaning concrete, brick and industrial buildings. For most residential roofs, soft washing, which uses a special nozzle to limit the PSI of the sprayer, will be more than strong enough for the job.
We recommend enlisting a pro to handle the job. But, if you are going to try to tackle the job yourself. Remember: safety, safety, safety. Gloves, goggles, slip-resistant shoes, and don’t forget the sunscreen.
Get more seasonal home maintenance advice from the experts: Is Your Roof Ready to Withstand the Winter?
Make Your Life Easier with Trotta’s Power Washing
Keeping your house looking great and maintaining your investment doesn’t have to consume all your free time. Why spend another weekend doing home improvement projects, when you can call in the pros? Trotta’s Power Washing offers a wide range of residential services, including pressure washing, roof cleaning and interior/exterior painting.
Located in Peninsula, OH, we’re your local expert in household maintenance. Get in touch with Trotta’s at (330) 915-3754 or request a free quote.